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  • The Federal Government has announced a modest, but permanent, increase to the JobSeeker benefit of around $50 a fortnight
  • The unemployment wage is currently $715 a fortnight but will drop to $615.70 a fortnight under this latest offering from the Prime Minister
  • The increase announcement from Scott Morrison marks the biggest jump in the welfare payment in decades
  • But, the peak body which represents those on unemployment benefits has already slammed the proposed increase
  • The Australian Council Of Social Services (ACOSS) argues a rise of $25 a day is needed to lift recipients out of poverty

The Federal Government has announced a modest, but permanent, increase to the JobSeeker benefit of around $50 a fortnight.

The unemployment benefit was effectively doubled when COVID-19 first began hitting Australia and currently sits at around $715 a fortnight.

That supplemented rate of payment was due to expire on March 31 after steadily decreasing, but the Prime Minister today announced a permanent increase.

“We are now confident that at the end of next month that our social safety net can once again be able to provide the support it needs to Australians as we come out of the COVID-19 recession,” Scott Morrison said.

“But we’ve also formed the view that that base level of support that exists within our social safety net needs to be adjusted for the long term. And that will lead to an increase of $50 per fortnight in that base payment,” the PM added.

From April, the unemployment payment will drop to approximately $615.70 a fortnight, which works out to be a $3.50 a day increase from pre COVID-19 levels.

It also marks the biggest increase to the welfare payment in decades.

“That put’s JobSeeker at 41.2 per cent of the national minimum wage, which is commensurate with what it was during the Howard government,” the PM said.

“It is true that it is the single-largest increase in the JobSeeker payment since the mid-’80s, year-on-year, that is true,” Scott Morrison added.

However, the news of the increase unemployment benefit hasn’t been welcomed by the peak body which represents welfare recipients.

The Australian Council Of Social Services (ACOSS) argues the increase is still not enough and a rise of $25 a day is needed to lift recipients out of poverty.

“Already, at $51 a day with the current coronavirus supplement, people on JobSeeker are being forced to make impossible decisions, choosing between housing, food, medications, basic toiletries and paying bills,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

“The Government’s decision will impact millions who have the least, including hundreds of thousands of children whose parents are locked out of paid work, people with a disability, students, older workers, people with a chronic illness, single parents, people from all walks of life,” she added.

“We are calling for an increase of least $25 a day on the brutal old Newstart rate of just $40 a day, which would bring the JobSeeker rate to $65 a day,” the CEO stated.

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